66 ISE Magazine | www.iise.org/ISEmagazine
with Aaron Kanne
Aaron Kanne is director of implementation
services with Care Logistics, a healthcare
consulting and management company in
metro Atlanta. He previously served as
a management engineer for HCA TriStar
Health Systems. He is an IISE member
and serves as treasurer for the Society for
Health Systems. Kanne holds a masters
degree in health systems from the Georgia
Institute of Technology and a bachelors
degree in industrial engineering from
the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He
is a credentialed project management
How are ISE principles used to improve healthcare?
The healthcare system is extremely complex, and there are many systems and
subsystems involved in delivering quality care. The payment system is even more
complex, with competing interests between insurance companies, government,
hospitals, physicians – it feels like the patient can sometimes get lost in the shuffle.
I feel system engineering principles are being applied, but often on too small of
a scale. In attending healthcare improvement conferences, I see many projects
that address the operating room system, the emergency department system and
sometimes even the entire hospital care system. If we want to have a big impact
on healthcare, we need to start looking at the entire delivery system and all of
its components, from the doctor’s ofce through skilled nursing facilities and
everything in-between. Only when we take in the whole scope of care will we be
able to “fix” the healthcare delivery system.
How are data systems crucial to the patient experience?
All of us in healthcare are inundated with data. It is hard to sift through it all and
nd out what you really need to know. The patient needs to know where to go
for information and what is important. Many EMR (electronic medical record)
systems have started incorporating self-service portals for patients, and these
are great delivery mechanisms. Real-time actionable data are key for patients
to make decisions about where best to go for care, and I am not sure if we are
there yet. If I am a patient and I have a problem, whether it is new or a part of an
existing condition, how do I know where is most appropriate to go for my care?
... Insurance companies are starting to have “one call” resources patients can call
with these types of questions, but they are not full-scale enough to actually direct
and follow up on a patient’s care plan. We do a decent job of establishing and
communicating care plans to patients while they are in the hospital setting, but how
do we know if patients are following through on the outlined strategies?
I feel insurance companies and the government (Medicare, Medicaid) have the
most to gain by investing some resources in the coordination of care and follow
up for targeted patient populations. They could greatly reduce their costs if they
became proactive with recommending the right care avenues. There remains
an opportunity to bring real-time data to the forefront of decision-makers in
healthcare. ... Also, there is a big opportunity for comparative data benchmarking
among like-sized hospitals to understand how we can learn from each other.
Whats next on the horizon in health systems technology?
I think artificial intelligence is the next big thing, with regards to how and where
care is delivered. I know “big data” has been on the horizon for what seems like
forever, but I think we’re finally in the place where we can use the multitudes of data
available to start honing in on our biggest challenges and understanding how best to
solve them.
How has IISE enhanced your work in healthcare?
Being a part of IISE and specifically SHS has greatly broadened the impact I’m able to
have on my company, the hospitals we serve and ultimately the patients. IISE and SHS
give me a network of people to ask questions of, bounce ideas off of and collaborate
with. Having exposure to how other companies and hospitals attack the same prob-
lems we face is invaluable information. I try to attend the HSPI (Healthcare Systems
Process Improvement) conference each year, and it is great to be able to share a couple
of days learning with others who share the same passion for improving healthcare.
— Interview by Tammy Whiteside